With over 400 graduates joining the economy as artists, designers, makers and creative economy professionals each year, Cardiff School of Art and Design is one of Wales’ major stakeholders in and contributors to Wales’ creative and commercial sector.

We are fully committed through our formal curriculum and extra-curricular activities to ensuring that our students leave us with strong employability related skills and a clear understanding of the attributes needed to pursue their chosen careers. As well as addressing their practical and intellectual skills, they are also supported through Cardiff Met EDGE - the development of their Ethical, Digital, Global and Entrepreneurial skills.

Through EDGE, we feel that they are well equipped to face many challenges but we also recognise that the wider environment created by Welsh Government, UK Government and local authority policy makers needs to be an enabling one for them to succeed and contribute to the Welsh economy.

We believe that it is important for Wales to have a thriving creative economy and to have an innovative and successful business sector, for which investment in the arts and culture is vital. Investment supports new work and ideas that might not otherwise come to fruition and these then impact on other sectors and national priorities. This helps brand Wales as a forward-looking nation and one that welcomes investment and new business, making it a desirable place to live in and visit. Public funding of the arts is therefore an important aspect of public expenditure with measurable and qualitative impacts.

However, as important as monetary investment in the sector is, the power of the Welsh Government and other policy makers to create an enabling environment where the arts and culture can thrive is of equal importance.

We very much want to see the promotion of joined up policy and practice by Welsh Government and local authorities; for these governing bodies to act as enablers for creative activities and view a collaborative approach as fundamental to their overall commitments to economic development, health, sustainability, skills, community cohesion and tourism. The encouragement of partnerships between arts organisations, education and business by Welsh Government and the Arts Council of Wales is therefore important, as it can seed cultural and business innovation.

Bodies such as the Arts Council of Wales also have a role to play in offering advice, guidance and training to enable artists and practitioners to have the skills to be self- supporting.

For example, Cardiff School of Art and Design has been delighted to partner with the Arts Council of Wales, Chapter Arts Centre and g39 in the Wales in Venice Invigilation Plus programme. This programme is enabling eight of our students and new graduates to invigilate at the Wales Pavilion at the Venice Biennale and develop their own creative initiatives with mentoring support. This has required the investment of time and money by the University, and so enabled cost savings on the part of the Arts Council, but it means that our students and new graduates have had a hugely valuable insight into the international arts arena. They have gained skills that have already been shown to kick-start their careers and broaden their intellectual thinking and artistic practice. This kind of collaboration helps build Wales’ capacity as a creative centre and helps persuade the talent that we have nurtured over the past three years to stay in Wales where they are well connected to the professional networks who can help them as they emerge as artists and creative practitioners.

While we support the current investment in the arts by Welsh Government, we also believe that it has a vital role in encouraging this co-operation between like-minded organisations who want to contribute the Wales’ cultural and economic growth.